Clean Brain

The best way I can describe how I feel thus far in my fortnight of social media fasting that began on January 1 is that my brain feels cleaner...unpolluted. It's a very subjective feeling, but if you are a social media addict, you know what I mean.

I also have more mental energy to direct at other things. Social media is insidiously mentally exhausting, though you don't notice it. I suppose that's by design, the Giant Internet Brain's way of softening people up so they fall prey to click bait and online advertising and squander hours liking and commenting on complete nonsense.

Last night I had a solid band practice with YOUR MOM (the band). The power trio incarnation of said band is hosting my birthday party this Saturday night, January 7th, at the Come Back Inn (9 PM until late). I'm looking forward to seeing some of you there, especially if we haven't hung out since before the new year. A few new songs were added since the last time I performed with YOUR MOM, but nothing too crazy. I spent an hour or so before the rehearsal in my music room running the new tunes, sufficient to nail them with 80% efficacy at practice. I'll review them again on Saturday before the show/party to ensure a 96% biff free performance (good enough for rock-n-roll).

How is 2017 treating you so far, by the by? Mine's off to a good start. The past two days, my weight has been in the high 215s (pounds). I don't include decimal places when I weigh each morning, because they are pretty useless within the margins of error for my body weight daily flunctuations. So 215.9 pounds is the same as 215.1 pounds, as far as my fitness metrics are concerned. After I got back on NYE from my week long holiday trip to see family in Colorado, I weighed in at 220 pounds, not bad considering I exercised minimally there and succumbed to the temptation of some Christmas stocking stuffer candy early in the week (by the same token, I was successful later in the week in substituting complex vegetable carbs for starchy grainy ones, and I only had two of the craft beers from the six pack mix pack that my sister's partner Carl got me for Christmas).

Deborah and I hit the gym on Sunday and yesterday (Tuesday). Yesterday, I tried power walking the indoor track at the gym, with short intervals of sprinting. I want to get back into running some, but I need to phase into it because my joints don't favor running as much as I do. Out in Colorado, I did a couple of short power walks and I could really feel it in my shin muscles, which I guess don't get used much when I bike (my primary and preferred form of aerobics).

At band practice last night, my buddy Phil told me I looked noticeably slimmer, which was a nice compliment, and totally valid since I was pushing 240 pounds around this time last year, especially after we got back from that dietarily ruinous Caribbean cruise in February 2016. I have lost close to 25 pounds since then through a combination of a lower carb diet (avoiding refined grains and sugar) and regular (albeit moderate intensity) exercise. I guess I finally have to confess that at my age, a gym membership is necessary. I am very active outdoors in the fair weather months from mid-April to mid-October, but I hate cold weather, so I become overly sedentary in the winter months, which oft coincides with a lot more calorie consumption due to the holidays. I have always been adverse to going to a gym, or more aptly the other people at the gym, but the gym we go to is tolerable. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, one of the indoor pools there has "adult swim" where annoying kids are prohibited. Deborah and I try to coordinate our workouts on those days with that. However, the gym has three total indoor pools and when we can't guarantee a child free swimming experience in the aforementioned pool, we can usually get a lane in the colder lap pool. I like to end my gym workouts with a few laps in a pool to cool off. I usually do 30-45 minutes of aerobic exercise, occasionally 15 minutes of weights and/or ab crunches, and then 15 minutes in the pool. All told, it's usually under 90 minutes out of my day, four to five days per week, including driving there, changing, showering etc. Plus, I feel great afterwards, hyped up on natural endorphins for a few hours.

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